Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Novels take a lot of organization!

I'm amazed (though I shouldn't be surprised) at how organized I have to be in order to write my novel.  I have a ton of word documents that I'm using to keep all the details straight.  One if for characters and EVERY time I throw in a new character, even somebody who gets one line in passing, gets their name and a brief description written down so I can remember who they were, if necessary.  Major characters, of course, get all sorts of details written about them.  There's also a list of the names of places, ships, buildings, etc.  I also have a Timeline document, complete with a mini calendar of the year this story takes place and notes of what days (and in some cases, at what time) each major event happens so I can find it again and don't contradict myself.  Then, of course, there's a large list of details that I still need to decide on.  For example, I haven't named the main spaceship yet because I want to put some major thought into what it will be, but I didn't want to avoid writing the story until I made that decision, so I simply write SHIP each time its name would appear.  SHIP appears in my master list of things I need to decide on, and I'll be able to do a global search and replace once I have a real name.  The list of items like this is quite long already.  I have another to-do list of small snippets, fractions of scenes, or other details that I've decided need to be inserted somewhere.  Each of these lists are in various stages of completion.  I also have a list of chapters with the POV character of each and the word count.  With stories, they're usually small enough that I don't have to worry about getting confused about what I previously wrote, so I've never needed to do all this before.  It's a new experience, but fortunately I'm capable of being extremely organized, so I'm able to keep up.  So long as I don't allow a new organizational project to distract me for actually writing something.

p.s.  Day 83 and counting of not taking a day off!


Ben Godby said...

Yeah, novels do take a lot of information-recording... but it's smart you're doing it! Otherwise, you forget things (at least... I do). Right now I'm writing a novel with Randy Ingermanson's "snowflake" method. Although it has allowed me to "know" everything in advance, one of the disadvantages is that there's a lot less spur of the moment fun in the writing. I need to strike a really good balance between discovery and outlining...

Good luck on the novel, though! Novels are awesome.

Anonymous said...

Lots of docs=you're doing it right.

At least, I think so. As an amateur I don't think I can legally say that.